This week, I finally finished the bear’s new rig:
This is his new form now. We’ve all come together as a team and decided that our story will now be about Rick encountering the Bear in this form. This is our game now, this is the bear’s existence now.
Just kidding, here is the actual bear rig, and a glimpse of the joint/control hierarchy:
To be honest, this was actually not as difficult as I feared. Getting the joints in place was straightforward, and the weight for each joint (i.e. how much control each joint had over the surrounding mesh) was also pretty reasonable. It didn’t require much work to revise, and fact, I ran into the most trouble when I tried manually weight-painting everything myself. The bear’s limbs were difficult to weight-paint because the weight values for different joints seemed to override one another which prompted me to go back and forth the same joints over and over before I realized that things weren’t working as well as I hoped. What’s worse, parts of the joints’ controls over the mesh would be ‘blacked out’ because of all the back-and-forth weight painting, meaning that when one joint got moved, miscellaneous edges and vertices from another part would not move, which resulted in a lot of ugly geometry. Ultimately, it was best to leave most of the weight paints in their default states.
Weidi helped with a good deal of the more subtle aspects of the weight painting. She was exacting about how much the limbs’ movements influenced the bear’s undersides, and we tweaked that with minimal headache. Same went for the bear’s head/neck/ears, which I was glad to see go as smoothly as it did.
Setting up the controls was a bit trickier. It was more tedious than anything else, and I’m not sure I needed to install as many controls as I did, but hey. I managed to set each joint up with a corresponding NURBS curve control, and I got my rig revised by a couple animation students (not associated with this project) before passing it over to the rest of the group.
All in all, I feel very content with my work, considering this is the first-ever rig I’ve produced.
Next week, I hope to put this rig to use by producing at least some of the animations for our new bear.